Storm Drain Rescue | First Responder Friday

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#FirstResponderFriday Today we’re spotlighting Jimmy Robinson, Battalion Chief at Anderson County Fire Department in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Recently, Jimmy was enjoying a well-earned day off (helping his friend install new flooring!) when he responded to an emergency involving a teenage boy who was trapped in a storm drain. Arriving first on scene, Jimmy immediately realized the boy was seconds from dying! Robinson leapt into the drain without any safety equipment, risking his own life to save the teen’s. Read on to find out what happened…!

 I really believe that God puts you in places at the right time. I was having a “me” day, and did not really feel like doing anything. A friend of mine called. He was putting down new flooring and needed some help, so I told him I would be there around 12:30 p.m. I got dressed and went to his house. I was on call for the fire department that day. There are six stations in our department; my friend lives on the same road as one of them, really within walking distance. 

Within 10 minutes of being there, a call is dropped. “We’ve got a kid stuck in a storm drain on Wildcat Road.” I was there within two minutes, it was that quick. This storm drain runs under the road. Usually it is not very deep, but we had had a lot of rain and it was a cold day. This kid was at a friend’s house trying to help them clear some debris so the drain wouldn’t get clogged and wash out their driveway. Well, the drain just sucked him in. 

The boy grabbed hold of the road, but the force of the water had stripped his clothes off. I jumped in with him and fell into the suction as well, together he pushed and I pushed and pulled, finally we were able to get him up and warmed him up. He was suffering from hypothermia. From the time we got there, it was about 60 seconds. It was that quick, everything happened so quick. And now he is healthy and happy. I am not sure he knew how close to death he was. One second longer and who knows what would have happened?

If I had been at home, I would not have made it to him in enough time. But that’s why we do what we do. 

Q: How did you become involved in firefighting & emergency medical service? 

BATTALION CHIEF ROBINSON: My dad was a volunteer firefighter. Of course, back in the 60’s and 70’s, my mom and dad were both part of what they called “Rescue Squads.” They did not have fire departments & EMS like they do now. Once they started having kids, they moved away from it, but then in the early 90’s we lost my sister in a car wreck that was a way my dad was able to give back. I was 14 at the time, and you followed in your dad’s footsteps. I joined when I was 18 and it was fun. All the bells and whistles, and then you learned you are actually making a difference.

Q: Did your fire station experience hard times during Covid? 

BATTALION CHIEF ROBINSON: There was a big learning curve, but our Captain is a big prepper, so we did not run out of PPE as quickly as some of the other counties. A lot of it was not being able to do much for patients, unless they were on their deathbed and then we would take them to the hospital. You know, usually we work with someone and tell them we can take them anywhere they wanna go, but during Covid the hospitals said, “Don’t bring them, we don’t have anywhere to put them.” So then we had to tell these people that are our neighbors and our friends, “I am sorry, I can’t take you anywhere, nobody has room.” So they sat there and suffered. You do the best you can and treat them… I think what everyone took away from it is there is more to life than just working, and how important life is and how short it is. 

Q: What would you say to someone considering fire services as a career? 

BATTALION CHIEF ROBINSON: If you want something rewarding, that is bigger than yourself, come aboard. Because it is not about me, it’s not about the guy standing next to me, it’s about the people in our community at their time of need. That’s when I tell them, “Quit looking at yourself and what it is going to bring to you, because you can be doing it for many, many years. I started in 1997. Did I ever dream I would be Battalion Chief? Never in a million years, didn’t even have the desire to do it. But it is so rewarding, without you even realizing it. So if you look at what you can do for that person, it is always going to be bigger than yourself. If that is something you want, I would join up today. 

Q: How would you define what it means to be a hero? 

BATTALION CHIEF ROBINSON: Hero is a broad term. But I guess it is someone who would go above and beyond what a normal person would do to the point where they could not come back from it. 

We think Battalion Chief Robinson just described himself! Thank you for your selfless service to your community!

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